German Chancellor Angela Merkel weighed in on the controversy surrounding a leaked conversation in which U.S. Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland said "Fuck the EU" to an ambassador in Ukraine. The audio of the phone call was mysteriously released earlier this week. A spokeswoman for Merkel has now responded, saying that Nuland's comments were "absolutely unacceptable."
Nuland had already apologized for the remark, but it's difficult to hear Merkel's response without naturally attaching it to a growing list of German-American diplomatic woes stretching back to October when the NSA was accused of listening in on Merkel's phone calls for about a decade.
The suspicious nature of the leaked conversation has taken on a life of its own, underscoring the various rooting interests in the months-long protests in Ukraine. Western officials are blaming Russia for the leak:
Western officials described the leaks as a throwback to the cloak-and-dagger tactics of the Cold War, apparently aimed as much at sowing discord among Western allies as at discrediting the opposition in Ukraine, a country of 46 million people on the verge of bankruptcy, torn between East and West.
Meanwhile, the controversy inspired anger about the outrage itself.
Awfully ironic that Angela Merkel is upset Toria Nuland dropped an F bomb and not that the Russians recorded and leaked her call.— Tommy Vietor (@TVietor08) February 7, 2014
Rather than pile on Toria Nuland for being candid, perhaps my European friends should ponder why she would tell them to f$&@ off.— Jamie Kirchick (@jkirchick) February 6, 2014